How to Make Hanging Rice

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Start to Finish: 30 minutes, plus wrapping and drying time

Servings: 6

Difficulty: Beginner

Hanging rice is also known as puso in the Philippines. The dish originated on the island of Cebu but is now found throughout the Philippines. The name comes from the way the rice is sold in Filipino markets -- hanging from the rafters in the coconut baskets they are cooked in. Making the rice is not difficult -- the trick is in ensuring that the basket is firmly woven. This way, no grains can escape during the cooking process. This recipe is adapted from Market Manila.

Ingredients

  • 6 1/2 quarts of water
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 12 coconut frond baskets, with a 1-cup volume per basket
  • 8 cups white long grain white rice

Directions

Bring the water to boil in a large stockpot over high heat. Once a rolling boil has been reached, add the salt.

Push apart the long leaves at the top of the coconut basket to reveal the small opening left during weaving.

Pour the rice into the opening, filling each basket so that it is between one-half to two-thirds full. Repeat the process for all of baskets.

Tip

  • Do not wash the rice before filling the baskets. For hanging rice, the starch gives the rice extra flavor.

Knot six of the baskets together, leaving roughly 5 inches of frond between the opening of the basket and the knot. Repeat this for the remaining six baskets.

Submerge the rice-filled coconut baskets in the boiling water and reduce the heat to medium-high. If there is not enough water, add hot water to the pot until the baskets are submerged.

Cook the rice in a gentle simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. When the rice is ready, a fragrant smell will be evident and the water will be a little muddy from the rice starch. The larger the baskets are, the longer the hanging rice will need to cook for.

Remove the coconut baskets from the water and hang them in a well-ventilated area for two to three hours.

Serve the hanging rice by cutting off the long fronds. Then slice each basket in half to reveal basket-shaped cooked rice that has been lightly scented by the coconut fronds. Serve the rice with barbecued or stewed meats.

Variations

Hanging rice can be cooked in stocks or broths -- poultry, beef, pork or vegetable -- to change the flavor of the rice.

Dried spices and herbs can be added to the rice prior to cooking for extra flavor. Ideas for flavoring the rice include:

  • Ginger powder
  • Dehydrated minced onion or garlic
  • Ground black or white pepper
  • Red chili flakes
  • Dried or fresh green onion

Additional Information

Successful hanging rice depends largely on the coconut frond baskets. Wrap the baskets in any shape you like -- heart, square, triangle or diamond -- but ensure that the weave is tight so that no grains slip through.

Hanging rice is best eaten the same day. The rice does not keep well overnight, and it is difficult to warm up if it has been stored in the fridge.

References

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